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tv   Frontline  PBS  March 24, 2020 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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s >> gun sales havsurgede coronavirus outbreak grips the u.s. >> narrator: across the country >> nervous shoppers ar emptying store shelves across..t >> narrator: bn washington a growing threat to the gun lobby. >> nra, shame on you. >> narrator: from the public and politicians. >> if i'm elected, nra i'm coming for y. >> narrator: drawing on years of reporting. >> the threat now with this elections greater than any threat we've faced it will not happen on my watch... >> narrator: now, "nrunder fire". >> frontlines made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank yo
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and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, coitted to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information is available at the ford foundation: working with visionaries on the frontlines of soci change worldwide. at additional support is provided by the abrams foundation, committed to excellee in journalism. the park foundation, dedicated to heightening public awaren critical issues. the john and helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. and by the ontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler.
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>> hello. today is the day. the day of my massacre sll begin. >> narrator: he was a 19-year-old dropout. >> all the kids in school will run in fear and hide. i hate everyone and everything.y with the power or, you will all know who i am. (laughing): you're all goi to die. (imitating gunshots) ah, yeah. can't wait. ♪ (students talking in background) >> it was valentine's day. and we had joked, days prior, that i was going to ruin valentine's day with this quiz. and the fire alarm went off.m (fire alaring) >> what the (bleep)... >> i hrd what sounded like
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faint pops. students started to evacuate,fi thinking it was drill. and that's when he came up theag stairs and r that floor. g)un firing, people scream >> narrator: in less than six minutes, he fired 140 rounds from an ar-15. >> it just became very real, very fast. (gun firing rapidly) >> holy (bleep)! oh, my god, oh, my god! (gunfire ctinues) >> (crying): oh, my god. >> (bleep)! (gun firing in distae) >> oh, (bleep), yo. >> no, no, no. >> shut the door. >> shut the lights off. >> people were texting and >> (rs): i heard gun, i heard one gunshot. we thought it was a drill initially, but it's not. >> hush. >> we stood in a closet, 19 of us and the teacher. >> i just had to take out my
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phone and film a lot of what was going on. h >>ands up, guys, keep those hands up. g>> let's go, let's go, lo. >> narrator: ryan deitsch kept fiesing as he and his classm fled. >> we couldn't tell what wasat going on at whoint. it's a tragedy. >> follow me, llow me, follow me. >> narrator: 14 students and three adults were >> owall. >> (crying): oh, my god. ♪ >> breaking news, a deadly shooting at a florida high school... where there's been a schoolis shooting...>> t sends students rushing out into the streets... >> there are "numerous fatalities." >> narrator: as the students evacuated, so did the shooter. he was later arrested. >> a number of parents who are crying right now, they'reei worried about children in that school... >> parents going running to that area to find their lov ones... ♪ ou
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>>e looking at live pictures there where there is an active shooter at marjory stoneman douglas high school. >> parkland, florida, that's in we're just getting thi information in, it's breaking at this hour... >> narrator: once again, h studen been gunned down in a school. >> yeah, hey, do you guys need a live interview? >> narrator: but this time, after the 105th school shooting, these students were determined they wouldn't be jusanother statistic.>> e didn't just want it to end here. we didn't just want it to end once the cameras went away. >> we wanted to make sure that it wasn't just forgotten about. we wanted to make sure that the story was still being told. ♪ >> (chanting): no more! no more! >> narrator: ryan and his classmates went on thefe ive. >> i now want to introduce emma
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gonzález. >> if all our government and president can do is send "thoughts and prayers," then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see. >> nrator: 18-year-old emma gonzez led the charge. >> the people in the government telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call bs. >> bs! >>ldhey say that no laws cou have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. we call bs! >> narrator: they had a target. >> to every politician who is taking donations from the nra, shame on you. >> narrator: the national rifle association, the nation' powerful gun lobby.ha >> wlearned in, in our own government class that the a is one of the largest most powerful lobbying forces. and we decided tt they couldn't just keep going the way they were going. >> emma gonzález's speech is trending on twitter this morning. >> a teenager is getting a lot of attention on social media... >> anguished voices calling for
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change. >> students turned actists trained their own political sights on the nra. >> i think that that speech s resonated wimany americans. going up against this kind of entrenched washington behemoth. you know, they were everything the nra is not. >> from my cold, dead hands. >> narrator: once one of the most feared forces washington, for decades dominating one iss: guns. >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. >> narrator: an unrivaled power that would ultimately become a target.el >> yes, we're going to take your ar-15, your ak-47. we're not going to aow it... ♪ >> the national rifle association has made possible
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the training of thousands of instructors.g >> narrator: lfore it was at the center of a political firestorm... (gun fires) ...the nra was something very different. >> the nra was a safety organization. they helped people teach their children and, and their friends and family how to use and store and keep firearms safely. >> this is an organization that, back in the '60s, was a very tame, not particularly political organization. >> here is a bullen from cbs news. >> narrator: but that would begin to change withhe assassinations of the 1960s. pt there has been an attem, as fe of president kennedy. the (sirens blaring) (gun firing) >> ...shooting, i repeat, a shooting on the motorcade. >> narrator: he was shot by a-c $12, .38aliber, mail-order rifle. un fires) martin luther king-- a 760 gamemaster.
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and robert f. kennedy-- a saturday night special. (siren blaring) armed conflict broke out on america's streets. in washington, the response-- >> effective crime con remains, in my judgment, effective gun control. >> narrator: those words would be a call to arms r some in the national rifle association. >> the nra people said, "wait a minute. t we've got other thinworry about than, than teaching guys how to shoot or how to hunt, unand so forth, or collect" and that's when, that was the transformativeeriod. >> narrator: the transformation happened here in 1977. >> the national rifle association convention in cincinnati went into overtime last night, a stormy, all-night session. >> narrator: t sides facedte off: h versus gun-rights activists. >> when it was over, someme dissideners had taken control of the 400,000-member organization.
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what it means is even stricter support for the right to bear arms and against gun control. >> they believed that itas incumbent upon the nra to become a second amendment organization. and they cleared the board ofha peopledisagreed with them. and the nra has essentially been that ever since. >> this is an nbc news special report. >> narrator: but just a few years later, another dramatic shooting would challenge the nra. coming out now.the president (gun firing) >> nartor: president reagan, shot in the lung. >> there the shots. (people murmuring in background) >> (bleep)! >> narrator: and his press secretary, james brady, in t head. >> they said six sho in two seconds. >> let the ambulance in here!ar >>rator: in the aftermath, once again, a ca for gun control. >> these incidents seem to keep happening, and that is a real puzzle and a tragic puzzle. o >> narrator the years, jim brady beme a powerful symbol.ou a gun-control formed
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around him in opposition to the nra, which had launched a full-scale lobbying effort in the capitol. and by the time bill clinton was elected, the anti-gun movement had und a president willing take up their cause. national rifle associa.asted the >> narrator: clinton cracked down on guns... >> president clinton signed theo crime bill into lay... >> narrator: banning the import of military-style handguns. >> one bans the importation of foreign-made assault pistols... >> narrator: the assault weapons ba >> a ban on 19 types of assault weapons... >> narrator: and background. checks at gun stor >> a stunning victory for the president. >> narrator: it seemed like a victory for the gun-control forces. saw it.t's not the way the nra >> has the nra really lost its clout in congress? >> i think nra benefited tremendously through the clinton years, becse of the extreme radilism of the anti-gun-- call them left-wingers, i call
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them regressives, not guogressives-- but the ant people. >> it's in combat that the nra thrives.'s ith enemies that the nra is best able to communicate its point of view, and above all, raise money. >> narrator: near the end of his presidency, clinton would take on the nra one last time. i >> narrator:was set in motion by a shooting at asc colorado high ol. >> the pictures that we are watching here in colorado are being broadcast nationally... >> it's very chaotic out there right now. >> swat teams went in to rescue possible hostages. >> we are going to continue to follow this horrific situation taking place in littleton... >> narrator: americans would se for the firstime students being gunned down.. 188 rounds fired offpi (gun firing ray) (explosion echoes)
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and a bomb detonated in the cafeteria. as the two assailants, seen here, enter the room and hunt for stent victims, they hadll 13 and wounded 23 more. >> you see some of the victims being taken out. we want to advise you, we have no confirmatn of any... >> they're continuing to find victims throughout the building, throughout the school, as swatwl team members sgo through the building, because it is not secure as of now. >> narrator: in the days that followed, the police gathered evidenceincluding home videos t of the attackers andheir weapons. >> narrator: they had assembled a small arsenal: sawed-off shotguns, a nine-millimeter rbine rifle, and a tec-9 pistol with a 30-round magazine. the shooters got a friend to buy so of the weaps at a gun show, which didn't require a background check. it would become known as the gun-show lphole.
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>> columbine w a direct threat to the american gun lture because columbine really brought to the surface the idea that a couple of disturbed teenagers, if they want to, on y given weekend, can go to a, a gun show and assemble the weapons they need to go and take over the schoolnd start shoot, shooting everybody. >> at the colorado state t capitol, anguish over the columbe massacre turned to protests. >> narrator: in the wake of the shootings, thousands protestedr. in denve >> some here are channeling their grief into protest... >> narrator: demanng that something-- anything-- be done. >> 8,000 strong... >> narrator: one of them was the father of a 15-year-old victim. >> i had a sign made at a sign shop with daniel's picture on it, and the words, "my son died at columbine. he wou expect me to be here today." >> narrator: the protesters had a specific target-- guns andhe nra. >> something is wrong in this country... when a child can grab a gun...
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grab a gun so easily and shoot a bullet... (exhales) ...into the middle of a ild's face, as my son experienced. somethg is wrong. >> the national rifle association, target much anger in colorado... >> narrator: as it happened, just blocks away, the nra was gathering for its long-planned annual convention. >> gun enthusiasts insist there's no connection between the columbe tragedy and weapons. >> narrator: inside, top decutives of the nra weig how to respond. they issued a public statement of sympathy and then sent out their most famous member, movie star charlton heston. >> thank you. thank you, thank you. >> you couldn't have picked a better caricature of who you wanted speaking, with that stentorian voice of his.
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>> arica must stop this predictable pattern of reaction. when an isolated, terrible event occurs, our phones rin demanding that the nra explain the inexplicable. why us? because their story needs a villain. >> narrator: despite the shooting, the nra stayed focused on its core belief-- the right to own guns. >> the base of t national rifle association believes so strongly, it's mora religion, or what a religion used to be. the's a passion involved i it. >> the nra is the closest thing that a membership group can have to just pure patriotism. they love their country. >> as long as there's a seconden ent, evil can never conquer us. tyranny in any form can never find footing within a society of law-abidin armed, ethical
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pele. >> narrator: heston tapped intoo a fundamental fearnra members-- at the government would use columbine to restrict unand then take away their >> purchases at gun stores start to go up astronomically as people, who are thinking about buying a particular gun over the course of the next year or so, worry that they may outlaw it. "i better get it while i can." >> narrator: hundreds of thousands of new members signed up for the nra right after columbine. >> the gun ia symbol of freedom, the only thing that keeps bad government from taking over. it really has nothing to do with eeguns, it has to do with m. but things started getting more political. >> the president of the united ates... >> narrator: within weeks, while speaking to the columbine community, president clinton would push back on the nra and rally the gun-control forces.
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>> you have a unique chance-- a chance-- to make sure that the children of columbine are never forgotten. >> the attack in columbine was such a shock to the body politic that we felt the country needed to do something. >> thank you and god blessou. (crowd applauds) ♪ >> narrator: clinton proposed a bill to close that gun-show loophole. >> mr. ashcroft. mr. baus. >> narrator: it was qukly rushed to a vote. as the roll was called, the senate was split.ic e president gore called to the capitol to break a deadlock. >> new laws to govern gun sales were deeply dividing... >> narrator: vice president gore needed to break the tie. >>en this vote, the yeas ar 50. the nays are 50.e nate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative, and
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the amendment is agreed to. the gun lobby and its allies in congress. >> narrator: one month after columbine, the nra h lost the first round. >> the democrats admit the grip of the national rifle association had finally be broken. >> the gun-control battle now tide also seems..., where the >> narrator: the bill then headed to the republican-controlled house of representatives, and thawas where the national rifle association would make its stand-- under the leership of wayne lapierre. s >> the wayne that in columbine was really large andha ine of this huge, dynamic organization. >> narrator: in the 1970s, he started as aobbyist. like wayne or like mystl junkie, was a wonderful job. >> narrator: but lapierre was no one's idea of a glad-handing lobbyist. >> he was a very quiet man. i was amazed he was a lobbyist,
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because he did not have the "hail fellow, well met" attitude or personality that i associated with politicians or with lobbyists. >> narrator: and surprisingly for the nra, he s not a gun enthusiast, moreomfortable on k street than in a duck blind. >> the safest place you could be with wayne and a gun back then was in a different state, because he really did not know anything about guns. politics, yes. guns, no. >> narrator: but inside the divided politics of the nra, lapierre was skillful, navigating between the sportsmeh angun-rights activists. >> wayne could put a finger to was blowing, and he wouldy it position himself so that neither side would be offended and might even think that he were, in fact, on that side. >> in an orgization that is so beset by factionalism, his being
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unmoored to any particular point of view is actually very helpful for him in terms of being able to ride the torrents that have occasionally swept through the nra and emerge always on top. >> ...legally to get a gun...r: >> narraow lapierre made a crucial decision-- to counterattack, fightgainst clinton's atmpt to close the gun-show loophole. i >> what we sthe president now dusting off every tired old engun-control bill that's around his administration for the last six years. >> the nra needed to go and show that it could stand up to the c president, that ld stand up, and it could, it could, toe-to-toe, meet him in the ring and bash his brains out. >> narrator: it was all part of what would become lapierre andth nra's playbook. >> (recorded message): wayne lapierre, executive vice president of the national rifle association. >> (recorded message): this year, more than ever, your vote
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really can make a difference. >> narrator: within daysfaxes and phone calls... >> "the clinton-gore administration isn'tasting any time attempting to further its >> narrator: stoking fear that their guns could be taken away.a >> fear is a much r motivator in american politics than anything else, the fear of losing rights that you perceive you have. when that fear level is high, that's when the groups that represent the issue do well. >> (recorded message): nrall caing with an urgent... >> narrator: the nra activated its members. >> y don't need thousands of people, and u don't need millions of dollars. you need hundreds of people whoo will gthe phone, and really, a couple of hundred eting. to show up at a town-hall you do that a couple of times, and your member of congress gets the message. >> (recorded message): i'm charlton heston. we need your help to protect our freedom... >> the nra's membership, if itca had one politrait, they vote. it's that simple. you are a politician.
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you want to get elected. you want votes. the nra has votes. >> narrator: it also grades members of both parties, punishing them if they break with the nra on guns. >> and so if you've got an f rating from the nra, and you are trying to get elected, good luck with that. ♪ ho >> in favor of the amendment will say >> a! >> those opposedill say no. >> no!ft >> narrator:er the nra lobbying blitz, the white house came up 22 votes >> gun-controllation on capitol hill was left for dead today the floor... >> a hands-down victory for the nra. >> when i saw that after this horrific tragedy, despite everhing thapeople say about, "we have to do something to prevent this from happening again," when they couldn't do something as basic as that, i was livid. >> the national rifle association opens its annual
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convention today. >> the nra convention he is rallying the gun-rights faitul... >> narrator: one year after columbine, it was time for another nra national convention. >> ...convention center opened at 10:00 this morning. >> ladies and gentleman, andna members of the natrifle association of america, your president, charlton heston.he >> narrator:had overwhelmed the clinton administration and successfullyr demoed their power in congress. it had been a very good year for the nra. >> thera is back! (crowd cheers and applauds) >> narrator: and now the nra would take the offensive. >> that leads me to that one mission at is left undone-- winning in november. >> the race between george w. bush and al gore, that's the last year that the gun issue c playedtical role in american politics. >> narrator: it was time to settle a score with the man who
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had bren that tie vote in the senate, al gore. >> i want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, mr. gore. from my cold, dead hands! (crowd cheers and applauds) >> narrator: the nra would spend $20 million on the 2000 election, the most aggressive political campaign they had ever >> al gore wts government testing, licensing, and registration for all firearmsow rs. he cast the vote that would have shut down every gun show. this year, vote freedom firs becausif al gore wins, you lose. >> to all of you in west virginia, it's halloween, and al gore doesn't need a mask tosc e gun owners and hunters! >> the nra wins because it'snd patient, because long after
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america's dismay about these gun massacres has faded, the nra and its membership are still thinking about guns. e >> good eveninrybody, and welcome to our election coverag. 20 >> stay with us. we're about to take you on an exciting and bumpy re. >> narrator: and on election day, the nra was rewarded. >> al gore has lost in tennessee tonight. >> embarrassing vice president gore by snatching his state's 1l toral votes... >> in no small measure, it was that fight over guns after columbine that had the firearm community more enlivened, engaged. and a few votes' difference, ano the whole thind have gone the other way. >> narrato gore was an example to democrats of the risk of going up against thera. >> democrats came to believe that gun ctrol was a toxic issue for em. democrats were running scared of the nra.
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>> i, george walker bush, do solemn swear that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states.a >> nr: george w. bush's inauguration would mark the beginning of a decade where the nra would get what it wanted. the assault weaps ban would expire, the supreme court would constitutional right to ownou guns, congress w pass a law to protect gunmakers from lawsuits. the gun-control forces were left in disarray. >> gun-control movement ised fragme you don't have what you need to mount a true movement, which is committed warriors-- people whoo don't need money, wht need fay galas, who come out 'cause they care. th that's whagun people have. >> narrator: but eventually, the nra would be threatened by twoev ts.
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>> obama! obama!ar >>tor: a new president-- barack obama. >> obama, obama, obama! >> narrator: and an epidemic of mass shootings, one tha would test the nra's will. >> 911, what's the location of your emergency? >> okay... >> narrator: 154 rous from a bushmaster semiautomatic rifle. (gun firing rapidly) ♪ >> narrator: it lasted less than five minutes. >> narrator: this time, it was six- and seven-year-olds.l >> we smre from the gunshots.
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you guys, come in my room now. get in here. >> oy, well... >> there's still shooting going on, please. (gun firing) >> i need, i need assistance re immediately.dr >> narrator: 20 ch and six adults were shot dead. >> shots are sti being fired ther >> get everybody you can going down there. >> narrator: outside, it was chaos. >> my daughter's ithat building, please! >> i have five children who ran from sandy hook school. >> there were just more emergency vehicles and personnel, helicopters than i had ever seen in my life. wcouldn't... i just... itas a surreal scene. i just couldn't believe it. >> narrar: mark barden's son, daniel, was a first-grader at sandy hook elementary. >> more and more of the kids were being collected by their families, and... no daniel. and there was this growing group of parents that were growing inr co "whe, where's my child?" >> narrator: nice hockley's son, dylan, was another first- grader at sandy hook.
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>> you know, and you're searching, searching the eyes, searching the faces for someon that you recognize, and i just, i couldn't. >> they told us that, "if you haven't been reunited with your loved one yet, you're not going to be." (radios running in background) ♪ >> the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old. as a country, we have been through this too many times. may god bless the memory of the
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victims, and in the words of scripture, "heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds."ra >> narr: like clinton before him, president obama took up thr cause of gun c. he handed the job to vicepr ident joe biden. >> it was in a contextf sorrow, extreme, i mean, anger and frustration about, why we do something about this? it was, like, "enough is enough is enough. put together something for me, joe." (siren blaring in distance) >> narrator: at the nra, they knew another political fight was coming. >> my feeling wa "uh-oh, here we go again. oh, they're going to come out and blame the nra. we're really in trouble now."
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but i just feared what might happen. >> when newtown occurred, it was like columbine all over again, and we immediately knew that there would be a big push among opportunity, 'cause thhe kind of like vultures on the gun issue.ti they have to wait there's a pile of dead bodies, and then they come swooping in with their catcalls and everything else. it's very disgusting. >> the democrats debate, one on one... >> narrator: the nra had reason to worry.lo obama ha supported gun restrictions. >> we can make sure thatal crimdon't have guns in their hands. we can make certain that those who are mentally deranged are not getting ahold of handguns. we can trace guns that have been used in crimes. >> narrator: for the nra, it was time to activate the playbook. bad guy with a gun is a good guy
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with gun >> and he almost immediately goes right back to what they usually say, which is that the answer to this is moreuns. >> what if he'd been confronted by qualified armed security? >> the nra wins by picking fights. its power swells, in a certain regard, every time it attack, that their rights e under attack. leave them every day uly society defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it and exploit it. >> this was not off e cuff. he didn't lose it. this was very thought-out. and they decided on a strategy,e and theyted the strategy. >> because the people that it resonated with gave more money. and this is what you need to do in order to keep that, that tough persona.
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>> "and we've got to send the signal that this is not the time to compromise, at obama is the enemy, and they want to take your guns awa yes, it's too bad about the, the kids, but we are not going to back down." (siren blaring in distance) >> narrator: at the white house, they wanted an ally who could reach out to nra members. and they kw just the man. >> as your senator, i'll protect our second amendment rights.or that's why the nra ed me. i'll take on washington and this administration... had an a rating from the nra,wa shaken by the newtown shootings. >> it really got to thesbabies, five- and six-year-old children. who would have ever... it's juso my imagination, most americans', to conceive that anything this horrific could happen in erica. >> light bulbs went off at the capitol. harry reid and chuck schumer and their aides realized, "wait a seco. we now have a democrat with an
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a rating from the nra saying he wants to do something." d narrator: manchin retur the same idea as clinton, requiring background checks at gun shows. he hoped he could convince the nra to go along. >> so manchin's argument to the nra is, "look, you'll never find a gusafety bit of legislatio that is as gun-friendly as this. and, and all we're really doingc sing a loophole." >> i felt this would be something that they would embrace.e it was truly a tat wayne lapierre and the nra, the leadership, could have rose to another level, complete another level. ow>> narrator:ith polls g wide plic support for expanding background checks, manchin and the vice president figured they had a chance. >> everyone felt like the world was going to change, everyone felt like this is going to be the mass shooting that makes america really looat its gun laws and change something. >> i was optimistic.
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over 91% of the american people supported expanding background checks, 80% of theouseholds that had an nra member supported it. >> narrator: under pressure, there was hope that lapierre might even get on board-- depart from the playbook. the nra, the wives of nras of officials shedding tears and saying to their husbands, "something has to you, you havo something different, honey." >> and so when ty're hearing it from their own members, and when tre hearing it from their own wives, and when they'rhearing it probably from others on staff, in that moment, they realized, "yes, we have to see about doing something he." >> narrator: nra staff met with manchin. >> they made some suggestions on someording and changes from that standpoint, so, yes, they had input, and we valued that input.dn >> narrator: it take long for news of the meeting to leak. >> ...that idea, now joe manchih samight be working with
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the nra...t >> the fat the nra was even talking with manchin suggested at least some room for negotiation for the grou >> two small groups, the gun owners of america and the national association of gun rights, began to circulate letters saying, "we hear that the nra is compromising with manchin."an "there"-they used that word, the dreaded c word, that "there's a comomise bill." >> narrator: larry pratt represented one of those groups, whose 300,000 members were some of the most fervent gun-rights activists. >> the manchin bill wa aiming at loopholes, it was aiming at nailing down some people have.eedom that american gun control simply kills people. and for senator manchin to wave the bloody shirts of those children from newtown is despicable. issued an alert to his members, warning them about the nra's talks with manchin.
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>> we put out an alert saying, "please, if you belong to the nra, call this guy at this nuer and ask him to urge t powers-that-be to oppose the bill." >> narrator: lapierre got the message. this bill wasn't going to fly with hard-core gun owners. >> the nra's main anxiety at that moment is not losing, isno seeing something enacted, it's not looking soft to their own membership and to the substantial numb of americans, who probably number in the millions, who think the nra is not tough enough. >> narrator: lapierre pulled the nra out of the talks. >> suddenly, the nra spped cooperating with manchin, opped their emails, >> we are not going to let... >> narrator: lapierre returned to the playbook. he launched a full-scale aault on the legislation. >> remember this tv ad? >> narrator: just like he had done to al gore, he singled out
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senator manchin. >> that was joe manchin's commitment. wbut now manchin is workih president obama and new york mayor michael bloomberg. concerned? you ould be. >> senator manchin was vilified by the it was almos a personal vendetta. so they, you know, they chewed up one of their own. >> narrator: as lapierre waitedo the votes, republicans and some conservative democrats backed away from the bill. >> mr. isakson. mr. lautenberg. mr. leahy. mr. lee. mr. wyden. (gavel raps) >> the amendment is not agreed to.l >> narrator: the bll five votes short. the nra had won. >> "how could they vote that way? don't they understand what happened? how can they do that how can this be?" i mean, it was disbelief and a
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sense of betrayal. that w the mood. ♪ >> narrator: obama invited the newtown families to the white hoe after the vote. >> daniel was a first-grader at sandy hook elementary school. i know that he felt,e felt a sense of responsibility to us anand, and to the nation, d to that 90% of the country that, that wanted this. you know, i think he felt a, a strong sense of responsibility toward that. palpable.his disgust was >> it came down to politics-- the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections. so all in all, this was pretty shameful day for washington. thank you very much, everybody. ♪
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>> narrator: any effort at gun controin whington was over. >> a stinging loss for president obama and, i might add, the country. >> the proposal was rejected, saddening families of the sandy hook victims. >> not a single new federal gun law has passed and that had nra members celebrating. hey, hey, ho, h the nra has got to go! >> the nation's capital is the epicenter of the gun-control debate today, with hundreds of ousands of demonstrators... >> narrator: but by 18, in the wake of the parkland soting, a formidable new threat tohe nra was emerging. >> ...march for our lives right here in washington ithe >>rator: those parklandwer. n students had come to lead a march on washington. >> about half a million pele, at least, expected today in washington. >> narrator: they vented their anger and frustration the >> a march against the a march against republican >>ngton is preparing for today's historic march for our i was in washington for the march. >> ...congress to address gun
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violence and school safety. >> and, i mean, the energy was huge. >> narrator: ryan deitsch was there. >> i've been amazed by what i've seen. i'm amazed that i cannot see the end of this crowd here in dc today. (crowd cheers and apauds) seeing that crowd on that day be unified over this one issue, this might be our reality now, but it doesn have to be, and we can change it together. thank you! >> the nra has never had to deal problem before. generation they'd never gone up against a bunch of incredibly smart, talented, and organized young people. >> emma, emma, emma! >> narrator: emma gonzález rallied the crowds >> in a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us. evbyyone who has been touche the cold grip of gun violence understands. >> hey, hey, ho, ho!ha
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the nrgot to go! hey, hey, ho, ho! >> the fact that it was actual the children who were in the scho was a very powerful, emotional message to thec. american pub it was just something unprecedented, and something t th, the pro-gun side really didn't have a counter to. >> today, the gun debate takes narrator: president donaldouse. trump invited the parkland survivors to the white house. >>tow, the president will h a listening session today at the white house. >> hear firsthand from survivors... with the president.-face meeting >> the question remains is what will actually come out of this. >> it going to be talk, like it has been in the past. it's being going on too long, too many instances. and we're going to get it done. we're going to be very strong on background checks. d we'll ng very strong background checks. very strong emphasis on the mental health of >> and h, "you know, i want to do legislation, let's do something now. we're going to come up with a solution.
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god bless you all. thank you. >> president trump vowing toio take a >> the president, who has indicated his openness to gun control, met students...ra >> nr: to the nra and wayne lapierre, it looked like the president was lking away from them. >> gun-rights supporters were dumbfounded, they were stunned. >> narrator: and day after day, it continu. >> you guys, half of you are so afraid of the nra. there's nothing to be afraid of. and you know what? if they're not with you, we have to fight them every once in a while-- that's okay. >> president trump making some waves in the gun-control debate. >> "we're going to have to fighh them," language the nra clearly does not want to hear. >> narrator: then trump went even further. he decided to revive obama's newtown >> democrats and repns are going to be seated around one table. >> narrator: he invited senator manchin and others to put together a deal. >> we could have one terrific bill that evybody... started by the people around this table. we could have an amazing result now, this is not a popular thing to say in terms of the nra, but i'm saying it anyway, i'm going
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to just have to say it but people want to see something happen. some good stuff. we want to pass something great. thank you all very much. thank you. thank you very much, thank you. >> mr. president, could you see yourself supporting... narrator: to sweeten th deal, manchin would offer to rename the bill the trump common sense gun bill.>> ..amid a heated debate that put him at odds with the powerful nra... >> narrator: the nra sprung intn ac wayne lapierre headed to the white house for a face-tface with the president. >> the nra quickly reacting to that exchange, strongly digreeing... >> narrator: he made it clear where the nra stood. >> ...fighting back against something the presidt said about assault-style... >> wayne lapierre got with president trump and knocked him upside the head a little bit, and, you know, before you knew it, there was no gun-safety legislation. and parkland had produced nothing in washington. >> despite denials from the white house, it's the president pears to bending to the nra. >> trump appears to be bowing to the demands of the n. >> the nra meanwhile claims it
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has the president on its side. >> they are the best eipped, most feared special-interestou on capitol hill. i mean, they are sort of the gold standard in how to do loying work in washington. >> i think, truth be told, thee whuse needs the nra, the nra needs this white house. >> narrator: lapierre and theto nra were early inv in the trump presidency. (crowd cheering) >> ladies and gentleman, the next predent of the united states, donald trump. >> narrator: they had spent more than $30 million supporting the trump campaign. >> the nra, earlier than everci before, ofly endorsed him and supported his campaign. in the political environment, they had to become pro-trump, and, and very sertively pro-trump. >> narrator: soon after that visit to the white house, president trump and the nra we back on the same team. >> "great meeting in the oval "fice tonight with the nr "respect 2nd amendment!"
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"highly trained expert teachers will be allod to conceal carry." "i want to thank all of our friends and patriots at the nra. w l never fail, and we will always protect your second amendment!" >> this is what democracy looks like! an>> narrator: but the par pressure on.e keeping the >> ...developing story on the south side, survivors from the parkland, florida, school shooting... >> ...parkland school shootingha announced a nationwide bus tour to change gun laws. >> narrator: they traveled the t country, pushingir gun-control campaign. >> the summer bus tour is makinv more than 50 stops ier 20 states, pushg for gun reform. >> through our unified message,r weable to combat them in ways that they had never been challenged before. >> we must put an end to the senseless violence that rages in tr communities, and we ne put each other first. >> yes! >> for about two decades, democrats were running scared of the nra. and i think parkland changed that.
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>> trying to get so many people registered to vote. >> when the kids of parkland started this incredible grassroots movement... >> this does not just lie in the city of parkland. >> it captivated constituents. democratic lawmakers startedg hearom people back home, anything?"aren't you doing >> narrator: the parkland students had helped put gunon controhe agenda of the 2018 midterms. >> i'll take on the nran assault rifles, ban bump stocks. >> one out of five guns are obtained without a background check.>> bleep) the nra. >> narrator: for the first time... place... weapons have no >> narrator: hundreds of democrats were taking on the nra. >> i'll fight the gun lobby. >> because the nra is an embarrassment, and weapons i used in iraq have no business on our streets. we had had a moment. we had had a chance to turn the tides, and we fundamentally did. >> this is cnn breakg news. >> this is a very significant f
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defe mr. trump, a historic accomplishment for the democrats. >> narrator: and on election night, a big victory for those democrats who challenged the nra. >> democrats picked up more than two dozen house seats to take control fothe first time in eight years. >> many of them are from red present districts that haven't been in democratic hands since the early 1960s. those people are not nra let me hear you scream! >> ♪ i'm all the way up, oh all the way up, all the way up all the way up i'm all the way up... ♪ >> narrator: one candidateho won was letitia james... >> new york now has a new state narrator: ...the new york attorney general. >> new york state's top legal official, and tish james made history today. >> democrat titia "tish" james, and... >> and our nation is at a pivotal moment in history, and we are careening...ia >> narrator: she immly turned her sights on the nra. >> we need an attorney general who will go after gun manufacturers and the nra.
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>> narrator: as attorney general, james would go after the nra from a new angle, to try and weaken it from the inside. >> the new york attorney general has a lot of power. she can subpoena their records, and she can ok into precisely how they are raising and spending money. >> she wasoing to dig in and see what exactly were they doing, how were they spending their money. >> the national rifle association is under investigation by new york state's attorney general.. >> the nran crisis, with the new york attorney general launching an investigation... >> new york's attorney general's office has opened an investigation... >> and so, that became a really significant threat to the nra. >> $200,000 in nra... >> narrator: then, a bigreak that would feed the investigation. >> wayne lierre looting the coffers. >> complaint about the n's tax-exempt status... >> narrator: leaks from inside the nra. millions of dollars...ds o >> narrator: allegations of lavish spending and financial misconduct by lapierre. >> the nra spent more than $200,000 of its members'
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donations... >> narrator: there were bills for nearly $300,000 from a private jets to the bahamas, and plans for a $6 millionansion on a dallas golf course. >> there were a lot of people around nra looki to be rich. can't imagine any other nonprofit in the entire country that has aimilar mission where people are makingc somoney. >> narrator: aaron davis spent a decade as an nra fundrair. this is the first time he has spoken on cara. >> the hypocrisy of it all is that the membership who gives $25 doesn't, they don't know where their money's goin >> narrator: to date, attorney general james has issued subpoenas to nearly 100 former lapierre has denied anals. wrongdoing, but the investigation has thrown the nra and its leadership into crisis. >> now you see a wayne lapierre who's under siege and backed
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into a corner. anthe nra is vulnerable to these investigations into its finances that are ongoing. so, it's just mired in intnal problems and, you know, dysfunction. (crowd chanting "trump!") >> narrator: and now, in the midst of the presidential campaign, lapierre, e nr and their chosen candidate find themselves in the crosshairs of >> i want to tell you, if i'm elected, nra, i'm coming for you. and gun manufacturers, i'm going to take you on, and i'm going tt ou. i'm the only one who's done it. >> we need to expand background checks, end the gun-show loophole, and do what the ameran people want, not what the nra wants. >> narrator: but wayne lapierreh as always, saynra is ready for the fight. >> the threat that is staring us in the face right now with ts election is greater than any
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threat we've faced in our lives. i'm here to tell you that it will not happen on my watch. i promise you. (audience cheering) ♪ >> go to to hear more from former nra insider aaron davis. >> and i felt like i as an nra fundraiser i was contributing to the problem of taking this to a place that did t look good. >> and how gun control groups are closing the spending gap with the nra. >> through our unified message we were able to comabt them in ways at they had never been challenged before. >> connect to the frontline communtiy on facebook and twitter, and watch anytime on the pbs videapp, or >> the world is flooded with plastic garbage. >> in this state, none of this is recyclable. >> narrator: have efforts to solve the plastics problem made it worse? >> do you think the industry used recycling to sell
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more plastic?bs >>olutely. >> narrator: frontline and npr rvestigate the battle ove plastics. >> we have to manage the waste right.e we h fix this. >> narrator: and what's at stake... >> for the oil and gas industry plastic is their lifeline. this is e big war. >> narrator: coming in april... >> today the world healthff organization oially calling it a pandemic... >> narrator: from washington >> washington stateporting more deaths from the virus... >> narrar: to washington d.c >> anybody that needs a test gets a test, they're there. >> narrator: correspondent miles o'brien investigates when c politics and scienlide.tb and also, the oureak's impact on the poor. a frontline special report, "coronavirus pandemic". >> frontlimade possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the macarthur foundation, ted to building a more just, verdant
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and peaceful world. more information is available at the ford foundation: working with visionaries on thel frontlines of sohange worldwide. at additional support is provided by the abrams foundation,nc committed to excelin journalism. the park foundation, dedicated to heightening publi awareness of critical issues. the john and helen glessner family trust supporting trustworthy journalism that forms and inspir. and by thefr tline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. captioned by media access groupt wgbh >> for more on this and other "frontline" programs, visit our website at
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♪ frontline's, "nra under fire" is available on amazon prime video. ♪ ♪ you're watching pbs. ♪
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t -while on a qu to uncoy of a tourist destination, gilda passionately investigates the untold stories of illegal slave trading in brazil. slavery in brazil was abolishein 1888. however, a massive network of corruption was formed to supply cheff labor to the bustling industry. [ gilda speaking portuguese ] irectors roberto manhaes reis and viola scheuerer present an exploration of identity and ancestry from gilda's discoveries. while the past may be difficult, the legacy of slavery cannot be erased. on this episode of "afropop,"


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